Day 13 – Albergeria a Velha to São João da Madeira – 32km/20 miles
Today was the last of the long days and it may have been the hardest of the bunch. It also meant going over 100km in three days! During the first week something like that is nearly impossible, but since we’re at the end of the second now, physically it is possible now. There is definitely a sense of accomplishment that comes with it, but I look forward to the shorter days coming up. There was a lot of elevation gain and loss today which can make 1km of steep climbing seem harder than 5 on a flat. At the top of one hill we stopped in the city for lunch and I enjoyed a delicious hotdog to celebrate the 4th.
The day started with a very nice walk through a forest before moving to more developed areas. It then took us up and down a rural mountain valley which provided good views. It was definitely a more pleasant walk than the last two days. In town of Oliveira de Azeméis they are celebrating a festival that places dressed up scarecrows all around the city. We were completely confused by this, but doing some research showed that people make lookalike scarecrows of people they know living in the town and then put them out for people to see. I’m sure they have some good fun with it! The last portion of the walk was all uphill for 5km before arriving. The donation room we’re staying in is actually on the bottom floor of a hospice and they were all very interested watching us walk in. We were like rockstars. It was definitely one of the more interesting places I’ve stayed in on the Camino. After eating an entire pizza it was time for bed. Two more shorter days until Porto!